Startup business principle 1: Bootstrap with a sense of urgency



There is nothing as inspiring and motivating as starting your own business. Yet nothing is as frustrating and confusing as watching your business fail. If you’ve felt that sense of apprehension before turning your BIG idea into a successful small business, you know what Nkem Mpamah, Founder and CEO Cognition Global Concepts is referring to. In this two-part series, he shares his experiences starting businesses and offers some suggestions that will help you overcome the initial roadblocks.

I used to think that every successful entrepreneur started big. This thought frightened me each time I tried to make progress with my ideas to start a new business. My fears were obvious because I was hugely limited in my background. I had no money, neither did my parents; and banks could not help, as I had no collateral and personal guarantees that they could seize for the amount of money I wanted to borrow if I defaulted. I was intensely afraid of taking risk with the little money I had as it was very obvious that it would go nowhere to building the type of business I wanted.

It was frustrating to see how my new business ideas were almost abandoned when I could not find anyone to support me with the finance I needed to bring my ideas into reality. As I dwelt deeply in this condition, one day, I decided to take a risk on my time and play with the little money I could find.

That single decision made a whole lot of difference in my life and my business. What I learnt eventually was that most successful organizations started off broke. The few that had money even went broke or almost broke many times on their way to starting a business. I also realized that many would-be entrepreneurs abandoned their dreams of building a successful business organization while others took theirs with them to their graveyards because of fear of failure and lack of finance.

Here are two main ways you can start and build a successful business.

1. Boot Strap Your Business

When you start a new business, you will need so much money to keep your business going. As a business owner, you will never have enough money to the extent that you don’t need any more. Every successful entrepreneur is adept to cash flow management to guard the amount of money that comes into the business as well as the amount that goes out. This is because what looks like a successful business today can collapse tomorrow if it runs out of cash.

If you are serious about turning your new business ideas into reality, you must be prepared to take risk with your time and money. One way you can do this is to start small, sell vigorously, and grow by reinvesting all your profits in the business. This strategy is called “bootstrapping.”

Bootstrapping is the process of starting on your own with no external resources. When you bootstrap, you are taking a chance to start and grow slowly on your personal effort and hard work until you succeed. Bootstrapping helps you to get far more disciplined and experienced than you would if you started with too much money, and your chance of succeeding in the business will be higher if you have courage and belief in your ability to succeed.

Although bootstrapping means that you don’t have all the money you needed for your start up business initially, it helps you to develop sound cash flow management skills over the little money that comes into your business to ensure that you make the most use of it for your business growth.

2. Act With Urgency - Don’t Wait Until Everything is “Just Right”

I have discovered that majority of young entrepreneurs who started their own businesses without a guarantee to succeed, were the most successful. On the other hand, those that failed waited until everything was just right before they could start.

The difference between the people that succeeds with their business ideas and those that don’t is a thin line; so thin that you don’t see it sometimes. Successful entrepreneurs didn’t wait until everything was right before they struck. In my own case, the only thing I did right was making the decision to start; every other thing was by try and error, and of course with determination and persistence.

There is usually no right time to start a new business than now.

Successful people make Start Up Business Mastery decisions with a sense of urgency and often with no guarantee of success. What normally happens when you do this is that as you work towards your business goals, doors of opportunities begin to open on either side and you take them up. How would opportunity show if you are not in forward motion towards your goal?

If you have an idea you want to turn into business, decide today to work on it. The more simple and insignificant forward steps you take everyday in building your business, the more doors of opportunities will open for you. So don’t wait for the right time; there is no such thing; but if you chose to wait until everything is just right before you start, you will probably wait forever.


Nkem Mpamah is the CEO and Founder of Cognition Global Concepts, a Cambridge-based firm helping organizations and leaders who are struggling to increase productivity and profits, or with leadership teams whose objectives are misaligned from the mission, vision, and values of their companies to improve their performance, increase productivity, and grow profit margins by at least 22% in the first year or less. You can contact Nkem by email at or phone 01223 750 250.


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